Amit participated in our Capability Program to Khovd, Mongolia. He was deeply impressed by the structure and impact of the program. After returning to India, he along with his colleagues conceptualized and created a unique Capability Program for Swiss Re Bangalore. “Swiss Re Shine” is a social entrepreneurship program that encourages innovation in social topics such as environment, water conservation, wellness, resilience, etc. We talked to Amit about BOOKBRIDGE’s impact on his professional career and life.
A strong team for tangible impact: Amit helped social entrepreneur Buyanaa to found a learning center in the rural community of Khovd, Mongolia.
Amit, share with us 3 important facts that people should know about you.
I am a foodie, love reading, traveling and exploring new places. I also try to maintain an active lifestyle, but that's because I can't compromise on my food intake!
On the personal side, I´m in an exciting phase of life with two young kids who I see growing in all dimensions on a daily basis, and of course managing their fights :)
Professionally, I am passionate about building sustainable capabilities for the future.
Why did you decide to participate in the program?
My personal motto has always been to drive impact. This can be translated both at personal and professional levels. At a personal level, it means growth as an individual, learnings through various experiences, and ways in which I can touch the lives of others. At a professional level, it entails coaching people, contributing towards strategy, and building organizational capabilities for the future.
While I have contributed my bits to areas of social responsibility at various stages in my life, what I really missed was a deeper engagement where I could get closer to a social challenge and contribute both time and skills adequately.
In the BOOKBRIDGE program, I found the opportunity for a deeper engagement that I was looking for. This program is quite unique. It provides a rich experience in one go: getting into the shoes of a social entrepreneur and shaping the business plan, enabling the buildup of a sustainable enterprise that creates social impact, and the personal journey of learning as a participant in a diverse cohort.
During the program Amit and other participants (left) visited a school in Khovd to learn more about the needs of the community.
Which highlight in the program do you remember?
It was an enriching and a fascinating experience being part of the BOOKBRIDGE program, and helping Buyanaa, a budding social entrepreneur and English teacher, to set up a learning center in the remote region of Khovd, Mongolia.
There were two defining moments for me in this engagement. First, when in the initial module the entire group came together and we had heart-to-heart conversations on our personal drivers, life purpose and reason for being in the program. This was a highly emotional start, full of empathy towards each other, some teary moments and towards the end, bear hugs to comfort and support each other. This experience really built a strong bond of trust amongst us.
The second moment that stood out for me was when at Khovd we had to understand the situation on the ground and execute our plans. It was so heartening to meet Buyana, her family and team in person. All through the previous modules, the cohort debated on its understanding of the vision and prepared plans for the learning center. However, when we started to interact with the community of Khovd and the different stakeholders (kids, teachers, government officials, etc.) our thinking transformed, and we turned around our plans to make them relevant to their needs. While we set our goal of enrolling 40-50 students in the new learning center, it was so gratifying to see over 100 enrolments. It was such a proud moment!
The capability program not only provides lessons on management skills but also hands-on experience. Here, Amit and other participants paint the walls of the learning center.
Which impact did BOOKBRIDGE on you?
I had plenty of learnings from the friends I made within the group as well as through the experiential journey in the program. There was sense of satisfaction, even fulfilment of having created a tangible social impact.
Professionally, it was a great opportunity to further enhance my leadership skills. A few examples of other learnings: having a broader purpose and 'why' as a starting point, collective experiences of a self-driven team, focusing on emotional quotient, being more self- aware, and so on.
In general, my life goals are much clearer to me now. The journey of self-discovery that I undertook as part of the program has already helped me in multiple dimensions.
I was personally so inspired by the program that I, along with my colleagues in Swiss Re Bangalore, created a customized program for the location in partnership with BOOKBRIDGE and Swiss Re Foundation. We call it 'Swiss Re Shine'. It is a social entrepreneurship program that encourages innovation in social topics such as environment, water conservation, wellness, resilience, etc. and develops passionate individuals who want to do something for the society. This program enables the professional development of such individuals. We are close to the completion of the second batch, and the program is now being replicated in other Swiss Re offices as well.
Thank you Amit for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!